ROC de­mands re­lease of fish­er­men held by Manila

The China Post - - LOCAL -

A Tai­wanese fish­ing boat de­tained in the Philip­pines on charges of poach­ing in Philip­pine ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters is in­no­cent be­cause satel­lite mon­i­tor­ing data shows that it was not fish­ing at the time, a Tai­wanese fish­ery of­fi­cial said Fri­day.

Fur­ther­more, there were only two Tai­wanese na­tion­als aboard the Dong­gang, Ping­tung Coun­tyreg­is­tered boat the Der Man Fu No. 3, when it was seized by a Philip­pine pa­trol boat a day ear­lier in wa­ters over 10 nau­ti­cal miles from the Philip­pine is­land of Bal­in­tang, Fish­ery Agency Deputy Direc­tor-Gen­eral Huang Hung-yen said.

With only two peo­ple aboard, the boat “could not have been fish­ing at all,” Huang said.

The Der Man Fu No. 3 is now an­chored in a north­ern port in Lu­zon, he added, not­ing that both the fish­er­men and the boat are safe.

The skip­per’s brother has told re­porters in Ping­tung that the fish­ing boat was only pass­ing through Philip­pine ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters. Huang said Fri­day that he was told the ship was plan­ning to pick up a for­eign crew in an­other port.

The fish­er­men will face an in­ves­ti­ga­tion since they have been ac­cused of poach­ing in Philip­pine ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, ac­cord­ing to Philip­pine of­fi­cials.

This is the third in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Tai­wanese fish­ing boats and the Philip­pine Coast Guard since early May.

Es­ca­lat­ing ten­sion in­sti­gated by th­ese in­ci­dents has caused the post­pone­ment of a meet­ing be­tween Tai­wanese and Philip­pine of­fi­cials sched­uled for June 14-18 to dis­cuss guide­lines for the en­force­ment of fish­ing rights.

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